ust 20 minutes from Naples airport is Avellino province. This is a geographic area of 119 towns and villages with a population of about 429,000 habitants. It is admired for its green hills, valleys, springs, ancient history and medieval villages. The people are friendly, even though strongly religious and traditional. The Avellino province, also called Irpinia (which is the name of a race of wolves) is a place full of tourist attractions, stunning views and great food. It was to our amazement to discover that this region has not fully been reached with the gospel. In all the villages and towns you would find a Roman Catholic church, but only 32 of them have an evangelical witness. The Holy Spirit has put this region on our hearts, and after a time of prayer and consideration we have put together a strategy to reach this region with the Good News of Jesus Christ. The strategy Believing in the power of God’s transforming Word, we have been distributing a copy of John’s Gospel to every home in every village and town where there is no evangelical church. Much research and travel has been done, creating a map of demographics and the social situation of this region. Then we identified the villages and towns of strategic importance like Solofra (12,000 inhabitants), well known for the leather trade, Serino (7,000 inhabitants) with important touristic attractions. In these towns we have done focussed evangelism, including music events, open airs and building friendships, making ourselves and the gospel message known. We have sent our children to the summer scout camps, spending our family holidays there and meeting people who are completely lost. We have called this stage ‘preparing the ground’. We could share many stories of people we have met and we trust that this will produce fruit one day.
The work today So far we have distributed the John’s Gospels (kindly sent by Revival Movement) in 32 villages. We visit the local markets in Solofra and Serino twice a month with a book table full of Bibles, tracts and free literature, and have many opportunities to meet old friends and make new ones. We have experienced some challenges too, like Jehovah Witnesses who create confusion and distract when someone comes to receive literature. The work isn’t easy - we realise that! The mindset is rural and sceptical; we believe there is a strong spiritual influence with idol worship, witchcraft and superstition being widespread. We therefore need
be living in a valley with six villages (Aiello del Sabato, Cesinali, San Michele di Serino, Santa Lucia di Serino, Serino and Santo Stefano del sole). It has a population of about 19,000 habitants, but no church. We pray that we will be a local witness, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through book tables in the markets, teaching English, making contacts with families through the schools, art and craft in the streets, literature distribution, international events, GLO summer teams and serving the community with the talents we have. Serino village is geographically close to Volturara Irpina, where we host the GLO teams in a Christian centre. We will continue to distribute
support in prayer as we step by faith into this dark and spiritually dry territory.
Gospels in the villages with no church and enlist the help of more teams in the future to do this. We also hope to assist the immigrant community as many of them come from English-speaking African countries and don’t have Italian. Our prayer is that we will be able to establish a longterm missionary presence. We are hoping to raise a team of part time and full time colleagues. Pray with us because the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are so few! (Matthew 9:37). We dream of a vibrant church in the Serino valley which will be a faithful witness to Jesus Christ, able to reach its surrounding community in order to plant other churches in this region. You can be part of that – by praying, supporting the project, coming on a summer team or joining us full-time in this work.
Moving forward We have been praying a lot and now feel before the Lord that it is the time to move into this region. Our time in Naples is over and we feel the church can progress without a missionary presence. After ‘preparing the ground’ we now move into the stage of ‘digging the ground’. This is a total step of faith as we depend on God for all our needs. We feel the call from God and we wish to move into a new stage of our lives as a family. God willing, we will be moving to Serino during the summer and would value prayer as we leave our current home and find a suitable one to rent. Our children will need to change schools, leaving friends behind, but we all have a deep peace about that and have already found good schools and teachers. We will
The Challenge of a
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Rising to the Challenge GLO Magazine, eVision, Summer 2017